Bull Crossing

Knowledge is Bliss

Home is where the excitement is these days

Posted by g.e. on September 2, 2006

Another article on Indians (or Vani Kola’s?) returning home:
Kola, at 42, is part of a fascinating diaspora. A couple of decades ago, Indian émigrés poured into Silicon Valley and played a significant role in shaping it. Vinod Khosla co-founded Sun Microsystems and invested in dozens of other start-ups. Gururaj Deshpande launched Sycamore Networks. Suhas Patil started Cirrus Logic. The list is long. California estimates that the state is home to 3,000 companies owned by Indian entrepreneurs.

Along the way, Kola became friends with Vinod Dham. He had also left India for Silicon Valley. At Intel, Dham became a vice president and will forever be known as the “father of the Pentium processor.” Dham put the idea into Kola’s head about maybe moving back to India.

To see if she’d want to go, Kola spent a month in India. “I spent random time meeting entrepreneurs, going to companies, meeting random people,” Kola says. “I’d be (out) until 1 a.m. talking to people.”

As you can see, two words often used to describe Kola are “driven” and “focused.”

“I came away feeling that I have to be part of this,” she says, “if I can bring my knowledge and in some way play a small role in the global impact India is going to have. This moment in time comes, and you either take advantage of it or not.”

She adds: “In the next decade, I see technology, innovation, global brands and internationally respected companies coming out of India. It’s too interesting a possibility. I had to find a way to participate.”

Kola decided to move her family to Bangalore, a city the Indian press has dubbed “Silicon Valley with potholes.”


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